Friday, 24 October 2014

Straight Forward Instructions to Sharpening your Axe

Straight Forward Instructions to Sharpening your Axe

  1. Clamp the axe to your workbench so the edge of the axe hangs off the edge of the bench.
  2. Put your gloves on so you don’t cut your hand!
  3. Using a pushing stroke into the edge of the axe.  File at an angle, not straight at the edge.  Filing straight on will cause the file to chatter, producing an obnoxious screeching noise.  It also causes a rough uneven file marks.  File at a slight angle toward the middle of the axe.  Follow the rounded contour of the bit.  Don’t file too much away from the corners of the axe, since that’s the weakest part of the blade and most likely to chip off. 
  4. The file needs to be cleaned frequently to be effective.  Use a wire brush to clear the metal filings by stroking with the rows of teeth. Push the file for the cutting stroke, but don’t drag the file back.  Dragging the file back dulls the teeth and once it’s dull you can’t re-sharpen it.
  5. Flip the axe over and clamp it back down.
  6. File the other side of the axe in the same manner described in step 3.
  7. Un-clamp your axe.  Hold the axe with one hand with the axe handle under your arm.  In your other hand you’ll hold your axe stone with your fingers clear of the grinding surface.
  8. Start with the course side of the axe stone.  Use a circular motion into the edge of the axe.  Try to polish out any of the file marks.  You want to make it one continuously smooth cutting edge with no lumps or bumps.  Once a burr develops on the opposite side, flip the axe over so the handle points away from you.
  9. Use the course stone to polish the second side.  Use a circular motion into the edge of the axe. Once a burr develops on the opposite side, stop.
  10. Repeat steps 7 and 8 using the fine side of the axe stone.  A very fine ribbon of metal will cling to the edge.  You may not be able to see it.  You need to strop the edge to remove this fine ribbon of metal.
  11. Strop the axe using a leather belt or honing/stropping material.  Hang your stropping material on the wall with a nail.
  12. With one hand hold the bit, with the other hand pull the strop taught.
  13. With the edge of the bit away from you and at 35 or 40 degrees to the strop, pull the the bit toward you with moderate pressure.    Then flip the bit over and push the bit away from you with the edge facing you.  Do this a dozen times.
  14. Once you’re satisfied, rub oil and then beeswax over the entire metal bit.  This will protect the metal from moisture and rust.
  15. Sheath the axe in a leather case so the edge doesn’t get damaged and so someone doesn’t get hurt.
  16. Go try the axe out!

Friday, 17 October 2014

1 Through 5 on How to Leaf Blow

Handling and Working a Leaf Blower
A leaf blower has the simplest name in the world and this is very misleading. Leaf blowers can be difficult pieces of kit to work but hopefully the following 5 steps will have you up and running and blowing in no time.
  1. Set the switch to the "Start / Stop" position. Most gas-powered leaf blowers will have a switch on the body with 2 settings: "Run" and "Start / Stop." Set the switch to "Start / Stop."
  2. Prime the leaf blower. Locate the small, flexible plastic bubble near the gas tank. Push this button down 2 or 3 times with your finger. This creates suction that pulls gasoline into the bubble to be used when starting the leaf blower. This step is not necessary for an electric model.
  3. Crank the leaf blower's motor. Grab the pull cord firmly and quickly pull it to its full length. Do this several times until you hear the motor begin running continuously.
  4. Flip the switch to the "Run" position. In this position, the leaf blower will begin running continuously while blowing out air.
  5. Begin blowing the leaves towards their destination. To blow leaves, hold the leaf blower with your arm at your side, pointing the shaft of the leaf blower at a shallow angle towards the ground. Walk slowly and sweep the leaf blower in a smooth back-and-forth motion in front of you. Plan where you will pile your leaves ahead of time. It is a good idea to lay a tarp down in the designated spot, so that you can easily drag your leaves to your compost pile when finished. If possible, work in 1 direction only. Blowing leaves in only 1 direction will keep you from having to backtrack. It will also keep you from accidentally blowing leaves into an area that you have already cleared.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Tips & Tricks for Lawn Mowing a Garden

These 10 tips and tricks will have you lawn mowering with some of the best in the world. Just kidding but they sure will help you make your garden look like the garden you want it to:

  1. Each run up the lawn with the lawn mower should slightly overlap the previous one; put a mark on each side of the mower as your ‘overlap marker’
  2. If you want 'straight stripes’ on a large lawn or a lawn without a straight edge begin by mowing a straight line down the middle of the lawn. Now mow on either side of it
  3. Don’t worry about cutting ALL the grass at the edges of the lawn; if you do a final cut all around the perimeter of the lawn once or twice you’ll get all the end bits and add a ‘professional’ frame to your mowing
  4. If your lawnmower has a roller change mowing direction at least every month
  5. If your mower has four wheels you MUST overlap each run so that the wheels do not go in the same place all the time. Repeated grass cutting in the same track will produce ruts and tramlines!
  6. If the grass is damp or long slow down your speed (not the blade speed)
  7. If you are ‘scalping’ the lawn in some places (high spots) raise the mowing height. Scalped areas will often be mossy and/or weedy
  8. Mow slopes and shady areas one setting higher than the rest of the lawn
  9. If the lawn has a ‘silver sheen’ or ‘frayed’ look after mowing the blade(s) need sharpening
  10. If you’re using a cylinder mower and the blade stutters or produces a ribbed or rippled effect in the lawn then either the mower is blunt or under powered or the grass is too long or too wet - slow down your lawn mowing speed and mow more frequently